The recap of the new 2018 ShareLunker categories along with the big over 13 pound bass that lead the way.
Story by Matt Williams
Toyota ShareLunker recently wrapped up its first spawning season under a revamped format aimed at taking Texas Parks and Wildlife’s 32-year-old spawning/genetics research program in a new direction. The direction is new because the program now allows for year-round participation and in several different weight classes instead of one. Following a blueprint similar to Florida’s highly successful TrophyCatch program, ShareLunker accepts entries as small as eight pounds. Anglers can enter electronically with proper photo documentation and everyone who enters is automatically eligible to win neat prizes by random computer drawing, including $5,000 shopping sprees to an outdoor retailer.
Some of the main ideas behind the new format are to drum up more angler interest, help fisheries scientists get a better grip on statewide trophy bass distribution and provide a jump start on rebuilding the state’s Florida bass brood stock using offspring from giant Texas bass.
TPWD put plenty of incentives on the table to boost participation this year, and lots of anglers have gobbled up the bait.
As of April 20, 206 entries had been received in the program’s four categories. Three of the categories — Lunker Class (for bass 8-pounds-plus or 24 inches or longer), Lunker Elite (for bass 10 to 12.99 pounds) and Lunker Legend (for bass 13 pounds and larger) — are open for entry year around, Jan. 1 – Dec. 31.
The fourth category is Lunker Legacy (for bass 13 pounds and larger). These fish are particularly special because they must be caught Jan. 1 – March 31 and turned over to TPWD for spawning purposes. Craig Bonds, TPWD’s chief of inland fisheries, calls Legacy Lunkers the “heart and soul of the program.”
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